Distribution Is Everything: 3 Secrets to More Traffic and Unique Views

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You just spent the past three nights writing and editing your post, and you just published it two hours ago. And…there’s nothing but tumbleweed on Google Analytics.

Or maybe it’s not that bad — perhaps you’ve got a decent amount of traffic, but it’s plateauing and you want more eyeballs for your work.

As you may have learned the hard way, good content doesn’t necessarily get the amount of exposure it deserves simply by existing. Here are three tried-and-true methods of reaching more viewers and gaining more unique visitors and pageviews.

1. How to Gain Critical Mass on a Hub

Hubs are any places where members of your target market may congregate. They also have voting mechanisms; think Hacker News, Inbound, or StumbleUpon.

Generally, there’s a correlation between the size of the hub and the number of votes you need to gain maximum exposure; if the hub is small, then you only need a few votes to in a given amount of time before you’re on the home page. However, these smaller hubs usually drive a smaller volume of unique visitors to your post. Larger hubs can drive more unique visitors, but require more votes to do so.

In either case, the metric you want to keep an eye on is # of votes per hour. How can you maximize this number?

Share amongst your friends. If there are friends that will enjoy your post, or at least aren’t averse to giving you a click, send them a message and ask them to vote you up on the hub. But be wary not to get caught for vote manipulation.

Ask experts for feedback. This could be as simple as e-mailing a blogger you follow closely and asking for feedback. (Don’t forget to how you first came across their work, or what your favorite post of theirs is.) If they like the post, invite them vote it up.

Time your post carefully. ShopLocket CEO and co-founder Katherine Hague got thousands of pageviews from Hacker News when she launched her first interview with the co-founder of Thalmic Labs. How? She launched it the same day that Thalmic Labs announced millions in funding.

2. Interview Someone With a Platform

One of the benefits to interviewing someone else is the possibility that they will share the content through their own platform. Proof: my guest post in The Globe & Mail featuring Tim Ferriss got shared over 76 times simply when he Tweeted it. (I get the feeling this was the force behind me hitting the Most Popular list.)

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The general principle is to get other platforms involved. Here’s another unique example: when Internet marketer Greg Ciotti first started his music blog Sophistefunk, he realized that it wouldn’t be effective to use guest posting to grow it. However, he did notice that music blog readers loved exclusives they hadn’t heard before; as he explains in this interview, he decided to partner up with smaller artists and gain permission to post their tracks first, and host their tracks exclusively on Sophistefunk’s YouTube account, in exchange for exposing them to Sophistefunk’s audience.

Those small artists were likely to share the Sophistefunk post with their limited fanbase; the fans of those artists then became exposed to Sophistefunk and the distribution increases from there.

3. Syndicate Content Yourself

Have you ever noticed how Business Insider syndicates Scientific American? Or Lifehacker hosts Buffer’s posts? The smaller platforms allow the larger ones to duplicate their post in order for increased exposure to the larger platform’s audience. It’s a tried-and-true method of generating traffic. Using that same principle, here’s a shortcut you can adopt:

If you want to play it safe, link to your posts through original content you write on sites like Medium. Medium serves as a curator, but also as a distributor. They want to make it good writing gets exposure; the principle behind it is if your work is good enough, then you will get a ton of unique visitors and pageviews.

However, if you want a quicker shortcut, just copy and paste your post into Medium. This is slightly controversial, because it’s been debated whether or not Google punishes syndicated (vs. duplicated) content.

This hasn’t stopped several bestselling authors from adopting this method. They may be indifferent because they never had a significant portion of traffic from SEO anyway.

Ryan Holiday did this on Medium (here’s his corresponding blog entry). Tim Ferriss does this with Huffington Post (here’s the original post). James Altucher does it with TechCrunch (here’s what he originally wrote). If you know someone who uses Medium, you can get an invite by helping them out with drafts of their work.

Quick hint #1: Try posting the content on Medium a few days or weeks after you do it on your blog, as you’ll notice some of the authors doing. Again be wary of the opportunity cost you might face with dup content.

Quick hint #2: If you can make it just under the fold of Medium’s front page, you can get thousands of pageviews, and your Twitter following could jump by two digits in a matter of days. This would probably take 30 Recommends (found at the bottom of the post) in less than 12 hours. A user requires a Twitter account in order to Recommend your post. (Wow, marketers really do ruin everything.)

Closing Thoughts

Remember, just building it doesn’t guarantee that they will come. Give one of these techniques a try TODAY. Whether you’re trying to increase lead generation or make an editor that you guest posted for happy, increasing the amount of unique visitors and pageviews you receive is a solid first step.

About the Author: Herbert Lui is a contributor at TechVibes and has:


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  • Charles Floate

    Having big names gets people in the industry rallied to view your post. I did it for my brand new blog within the SEO Industry, got Rand Fishkin, Dan Petrovic etc.. To add to a few of my posts, worked like a charm!
    I’m also working on a post about Syndication as I type this as well ^^

    • Herbert Lui

      Charles, thanks for sharing. Hope to see your post when it’s out! 🙂

  • http://fmathieu.co/ Francois Mathieu

    I’d like to hear more about cross posting from blogging experts. I see people like Steve Blank and others posting their LinkedIn influencer posts on their own blogs. I also see people who used to do it but stopped. I wonder what is the motivation behind it. The way I see it, you multiply your distribution but you divide the momentum of the post. It’s probably too hard to A/B test this because each post is unique.

    • Herbert Lui

      Hi Francois, that’s a good point you bring up. My $0.02: If you get the feeling the majority of the two audiences (of the two different sites) are completely different readers, then that couldn’t hurt — you’re getting additional exposure from readers you otherwise wouldn’t have reached. (e.g., If you think the majority of your LinkedIn readers aren’t on Medium, then try cross posting.) This can be hard to intuit, though; I’ll re-visit this if anything comes to mind.

      Quick sidebar re: A/B testing — you can actually tweak the headlines on each copy and see which ones resonate better with audiences — e.g., which ones got more social shares relative to the size of the site?

      Thanks for reading.